Read Judges 3:1-4:23
Conquest.” That is the overarching term that is often placed over Joshua…both the book and the person. Under this man’s leadership, the people of God settled into the Promised Land, routing the people who were there.
But as we move into the book of Judges and that period of HIS story that goes by the same name, we discover something interesting. Not all of the enemies had been eliminated. The land promised by God to Israel was still peppered with Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jubusites (3:5). God intentionally left them there. You see, He wanted to test His people (3:4). How committed were they to obeying Him?
There are some interesting parallels for us, aren’t there? God seldom completely clears our lives from some form of opposition, trial, or testing. Chances are, you know that full well from something you have just been through or from something you are currently experiencing. If those challenges are designed to test your commitment and to produce in you a persevering godliness, how are you doing?
Well, the Israelites did not fare well. If you read closely in the book of Judges, you will discover a cyclical pattern in their experiences that included:
• The evil behavior of the Israelites (3:7, 12; 4:1 from today’s text). In most instances this included a departure from exclusive loyalty to God alone to serving the pagan gods.
• A desperate cry from Israelites to God for rescue (3:9, 15; 4:3 from today’s text). It is interesting to observe how people appeal to Him in times of difficulty.
• God’s deliverance through a judge (3:9, 15; 4:4). God does hear the cry of His people and He responds to it.
• A period of rest (3:11, 30 from today’s text). This seemed to last as long as the people’s obedience to the Lord.
Once again, we see how God rescued His people from the challenges they faced. But their rescue went hand in hand with their repentant, desperate pleading with Him.
Do you recognize any parallels in your life? Have you seen similar cycles in your life? Faithfulness to the Lord does not guarantee a lack of problems, but it sure does limit the resultant pain!